About Us

Hardscrabble Zendo

Tō Kō Ji (Temple of the Eastern Light) is a small mountain temple in the Rinzai Zen tradition. The fundamental practice is zazen, a time-tested way of fostering spiritual development. Meditators of all schools are welcome, and instruction in zazen is available for beginners. You are invited to come and experience it for yourself.

Zendo Schedule

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Zazen: 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Dharma Talk: 7:30 p.m.[/su_column]
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most months on the 3rd Sunday of the month. Part-time attendance is permitted. Call ahead for hours.

Jim Gordon

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Kyonen Jim Gordon has been a zen practitioner for over fifty years. After seven years of study with Soen Nakagawa, Roshi at New York Zendo and Daibosatsu Zendo, he began study with Kyozan Joshu Sasaki, Roshi, a study that continued from 1977 until Roshi’s death at age 107 in 2014.

Photo by Hosen Christiane Ranger


Kyonen was ordained as a zen monk in 2001, and, having retired from the practice of psychiatry and psychotherapy, devotes himself full-time to zazen and to being the guiding teacher at Hardscrabble Zendo.

Tathāgata Zen

The practice at Hardscrabble Zendo is Tathāgata Zen as taught by Joshu Sasaki, Roshi. This practice is designed to facilitate the actual experience of the Dharma Activity, the activity that brings forth the  entire universe. It is through this experience that one comes to know one’s fundamental nature, thereby realizing Buddhahood. Long study is usually required; zazen and proper breathing are the major tools utilized.

Zen Buddhism

Although the Zen branch of the Buddhist tradition traces its origins back to India 2500 years ago at the time of the historical Buddha, the characteristics of the Zen School as it exists today began around 1500 years ago when the Indian monk, Bodhidharma journeyed to China and, finding a successor, initiated a line of transmission that has carried through to present-day America. The principle of the Zen School has often been described as:

A special transmission outside the scriptures;
No dependence upon words and letters;
Direct pointing at the mind of man;
Seeing into one’s nature and attaining Buddhahood.


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Ekō/henshō —
Turn the light (of mind) around
and return to what shines within.

— Shitou Xiqian



126 Main Street, Sheffield, MA 02157
(413) 229-2458

Photos by Tess Steinkolk